Trance, 2013

Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle released his psychological thriller Trance in spring 2013. One of the first ventures of d3 into this industry, this showcase illustrates the various uses of d3 in film.


The producer for Trance, Bernard Bellew, sought a flexible solution that could help define production needs as well as assist in working on back projections during a dream-like car scene. Chris Bird, director of d3 Technologies, immediately shared the excitement for the film production process and finding out how d3 might be able to help.

‘We love a good challenge and we were keen to test d3 in the film industry’, says Chris. ‘The brief was specific: a custom car had been built, allowing eight different HD cameras to film inside and outside the car. The car was placed on a rotating platform. The scene required rain and production were really aiming for a dream-like effect, referencing older films where they used projection for background effects. To get this effect, a curved projection screen was placed around the car in the studio.’

The d3 Solution

Explaining how d3 helped the practical side of film making, Chris lists: ‘Firstly, d3 could help define how high the projection screen should be, and how far it would be placed from the car. In d3’s built-in 3D stage simulator, you can calculate precisely what you see using specific lenses. So if we know that direction wants to shoot with a 35mm camera lens, and with the camera going in a certain motion, d3 will tell you when the edge of the projection screen will be visible. As such we could easily and quickly calculate how high the screen should be at minimum for the cameras not to see it. This way you only use what you need – and no more.’ Using the same method, the film crew could also test out several camera moves as well as lenses before shooting the scene.

Freelance d3 operator Luke Collins was on-site for the one day of the shoot. One pure d3 4U v2.5 master was used, one d3 4U v2.5 slave for the four HD projectors, and one understudy. ‘The show was delivered as seven different scenes which needed to run into each other,’ Luke says. ‘The initial briefing I received said we would first shoot for the front of the car, and then for the rear. So I sequenced two tracks, one for the front and then one for the rear, each track having the seven different scenes crossfading into each other. The night before the shoot, Danny Boyle asked if we could shoot it all at once – meaning I would need to show both the videos for the front and those for the rear of the car at the same time. So I re-sequenced the track using a compose module to adjust the blend between the two videos. The compose module allowed me to make sure that the alignment was spot on, so looking out of the windscreen of the car really looked like you were driving forwards and the rear widow would also see the correct picture. Each file was 5088×1080 pixels – no small feat, but it looked brilliant on camera.’


Trance is a Pathé, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Film4 presentation of a Cloud Eight/Decibel Films production. The film is produced by Christian Colson (Slumdog Millionaire). Executive Producers are Bernard Bellew, Francois Ivernel, Cameron McCracken,Tessa Ross, Steven Rales and Mark Roybal.


d3 gear:

1 x d3 4U v2.5 Master
1 x d3 4U v2.5 Slave
1 x d3 4U v2.5 Understudy